COLUMN: HE WHO LAUGHS LAST, LAUGHS THE MOST
Sibeleki on Monday:
It was a weekend of bliss as Zambia’s envoys in continental football: both Nkana and Zesco United registered resounding victories over San Pedro of Ivory Coast and Kaizer Chiefs from South Africa respectively, in their opening legs of the 2018/19 CAF Confederation Cup playoffs.
The fill up campaign by the fans on Social media was too glaring to be eschewed as both Nkana Stadium and Levy Mwanawasa Stadium were packed to the rafters.
I did not watch the Nkana, San Pedro game on Saturday because on my diary I had a trip to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe where FC Platinum and Orlando Pirates squared off. The turn-out by the fans for this clash at Barboufields Stadium was amazing. Some fans were even turned away, back home so as not to violate the minimum CAF match standard.
The unofficial attendance for this match, according to reliable sources was 22, 964. The Zimbabweans did not need a fill up campaign to score such a surreal figure. They simply laid down the marker; the threshold of which we Zambians palpably ought to take a cue from.
CRUX OF THIS WEEK’S COLUMN
To borrow a leaf from former Chipolopolo coach Herve Renard’s lexicon “Ze battle is far from over.”
It is very important we revisit our record books, even though Zesco United Assistant coach Alfred Lupiya insisted we have to turn a blind eye one the past in an interview with ZNBC presenter Musenge Mulimba on Sunday.
It is well documented that Nkana and Zesco United have rotten records when traversing to Ivory Coast and South Africa respectively.
In the 2014 CAF Confederation Cup, in the group stages Nkana were ‘beaten to a pulp’ 3-0 by Sewe Sport in Ivory Coast. The same happened with Zesco United – as they have been knocked out of continental football in their recent visits to South Africa.
Our torch bearers need to break away from their respective jinx to have the last laugh in the 2nd legs. Because ‘he who have the last laugh, laughs the most.’
Ze job is far from over to the fans also. Now is the time to launch the ‘Fill-Up’ FNB Stadium robust campaign or is it San Pedro is home campaign. The fans should not to sit on their laurels but organize themselves and make itinerary arrangements to cheer for their sides and jeer opponents.
Either by hook line and sinker, Zambia need to have a representative in the group stages – so as to score points in the CAF 5-year rankings. We need not to get overexcited as the ‘ze’ job has only been executed halfway. Like a phoenix, our football need to rise from ashes.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the ZamFoot crew and indeed of this Column, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the South African football fraternity on the passing of Bafana Bafana legend Philemon “Chippa” Masinga. We mourn with you Mzansi brothers as you mourn this gallant giant.
From me here James Sibeleki, in the beautiful city of Livingstone which houses “one of the seven natural wonders of the Earth”; the Mighty Victoria Falls – I wish you all followers of this Column, a fruitful week and our Lord’s blessings. Adiós!
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